All too often, it’s at the end of the holiday season when the money worries really start to sting.

The gifts have been given and the gatherings have started to peter out. But in the slower stint between Christmas and New Year’s, the stress caused by looking back on financial choices begins to collide with that linked to planning ahead.

“It’s almost like a hangover,” says Brandon Welch of Newport Wealth Advisors in San Diego. “You’re left in this kind of limbo where the fun is over and now you’re thinking about New Year’s, and resolutions are top of mind.”

The economy hasn’t helped. It’s been a year dominated by fears of recession, interest rate risk, layoffs and a stagnant housing market. While 2024 looks like it has the potential for a turnaround, political and economic uncertainty loom.

To help tackle some of the financial stress that can creep up at this time of year, Bloomberg News asked financial experts for their best tips on dealing with triggers relating to past, present and future money worries. Here’s what they said:

Grapple With the Past
One of the most important first moves involves figuring out what sort of financial stress you’re feeling in the first place. This is deceptively challenging because we typically aren’t taught to identify the complex emotions money can trigger, says Kristy Archuleta, a professor of financial planning at the University of Georgia. We know we feel “good” or “bad” or “jealous” about money, but these broad labels can obscure more complex emotions, especially when we’re around family and outside of our normal routines and comfort zones. Failing to identify what we’re feeling makes it hard to find solutions.

Take financial jealousy. Archuleta points out that at this time of year, we might be home looking at our richer neighbors thinking we feel jealous, but are unable to mitigate the emotion.

“Actually, you may not be feeling jealous. You may feel resentful of your neighbors because they have something you don’t have and you’re trying to play that down,” she says. “And when you try to play that down, you’re actually disappointed in yourself that you feel that way.”

A part of breaking the cycle involves being honest with yourself about what you’re feeling, even if you wouldn’t normally consider yourself the type of person who feels resentful.

Another very common emotion around year-end is regret. Karen Ogden, a partner at Envest Asset Management in Dorset, Vermont, says it’s crucial not to dwell on feelings that arise from decisions you wish you hadn’t made but now can’t reverse.

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